For some reason the August of 1985 produced an unrelated trilogy of ‘teen science comedies.’ Weird Science (1985), was the most high profile of these films that featured wacky teenagers engaging in equally wacky science projects, it was followed by My Science Project (1985), and Real Genius (1985). There was a brief cultural fascination with science being ‘cool’ that western culture wouldn’t really see again until the 2000s and the rise of the nerd as a cultural icon. The direct to video industry, at its height, was never one to let a good premise die, even years past its expiration date, and so The Mind Benders was born.
Crash (Lee Tergesen) and his pal Frankie (Skip Lackey) are two doofuses who engage in food fights, listen to their Walkmans in class, and are generally directionless party animals. The two host a show on the radio school station along with sweater wearing dork, Calvin (David Kener). Principal Borden (Roy Thinnes) feels that his school has become uncontrollable and enlists the aid of Dr. Gunbow (Bill Curry) from the Behavior Modification Research Institute. Dr. Gunbow’s solution is to pipe in hypnotic messages into a classroom and make the students more obedient. The principle’s meddling with the system turns the student body violent and only Crash and Frankie have the answer to break the hypnosis… rock and roll.
|A typical Canadian.|
The Mind Benders is a mediocre comedy, and a razor thin science-fiction story, but as a weird capsule of 1987 VHS ephemera it manages some limited appeal. Approach with caution.